Benjamin Bohr

Bohr
I will finish up my B.A. degrees at UCI this Spring quarter, and in the fall, I will I start a PhD program in Political Science (with an emphasis in international relations) at UC San Diego. This degree program will serve as a steppingstone for my future career as a university professor and researcher. I attribute no small part of my acceptance to this top-10 political science department to the freedom and guidance I enjoyed as a UCI Global Cultures major!

A disproportionate number of UCI's brightest students graduate with a Global Cultures major because this program has found a rare recipe for academic and personal success. The structure of the major strikes a hard-to-achieve balance between academic flexibility and guidance. As a Global Cultures major, I had the freedom to delve into a wide variety of academic interests—from linguistic integration in the European Union to global music movements to international law. This flexible curriculum allowed me to complete both the Global Cultures requirements, as well as my second major, Political Science, in just four years.

The program's director, Dr. Armin Schwegler, not only permits his students to indulge their diversity of interests, but also encourages and facilitates student involvement in an even broader array of on- and off-campus activities. For example, with Dr. Schwegler's help, I studied abroad on two separate occasions, in Sweden and France, and had virtually all of my classes count towards my major. These opportunities to learn foreign languages and about different cultures are among the most enjoyable and formative experiences of my undergraduate career.

The Global Cultures curriculum is more than just flexible. I found that the few required core courses were among the most rigorous and informative classes I took during my time at UCI. Additionally, the faculty members affiliated with the major are particularly helpful in their suggestions and guidance for creating a fulfilling plan of study. My major emphasis was inter-area studies, through which I pursued my interdisciplinary and non-regionally defined interest in how globalization affects political institutions and power arrangements.

 

 

Khassaundra Delgado

Delgado
UCI's Global Cultures program has been tremendously helpful in reaching my career goals and supporting my professional development in nonprofit fundraising and strategic communications. While I originally thought that my career would be in education, I obtained a position at a local public relations firm, where I worked on communications campaigns for local nonprofit organizations, UCI Extension and the OpenCourseWare Consortium.

I am grateful for the continuous mentoring I received in the Global Cultures program. My study in Global Cultures equipped me with the research and critical thinking skills to prepare case studies demonstrating the global influence of the open education movement and OpenCourseWare materials — one of the most fun and rewarding projects that I have worked on as I develop my career. Here are a few links to the case studies I prepared:

www.ocwconsortium.org/en/community/casestudies/socialchange
http://www.ocwconsortium.org/en/community/casestudies/transnationalcollaboration
http://www.ocwconsortium.org/en/community/casestudies/ocwatirvine

A year ago, I began working at a local nonprofit, preparing grants and strategic communications campaigns for the agency. Understanding the diverse cultural landscape of Southern California has been essential, and my study in Global Cultures has prepared me beyond measure for this challenging position. With countless nonprofits both locally and worldwide, a degree in Global Cultures is a significant advantage in the nonprofit industry.

My undergraduate experience and subsequent jobs in the real world have persuaded me to pursue graduate study in Global Communications. All of the universities that I have reached out to responded positively to my degree in Global Cultures. I am truly appreciative of the opportunities that the Global Cultures program at UCI has created for me. If you have an questions, please contact me at khassaundradelgado@gmail.com

 

 

Tania Gennell

Gennell
Global Cultures has given me a truly international experience!

I decided to study abroad (England) after hearing so many inspiring stories from previous UCI students, and because I wanted to fulfill my desire to travel the world. Global Cultures courses at UCI (e.g., Dr. Schwegler’s class on language and globalization) gave me the confidence to apply — successfully so — to graduate schools in the United Kingdom. In my application, I emphasized the necessity for understanding other cultures, and how my education at UCI prepared me well to pursue an advanced degree in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. Two prestigious universities in the United Kingdom (University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland; and the University of Westminster in London, England) accepted me within days of applying.

Subsequently I was also accepted to the University of California, Los Angeles (honors program), New York University, and the University of Southern California. I have decided to pursue my degree at UCLA, where I will double my Linguistics concentration with Global Studies. Through this program, I will join UCLA next summer for a travel study programme to China. My qualifications as a "global" student have also earned me a spot in a very competitive internship in Cape Town, South Africa, where I will work at a local clinic, studying the juxtaposition between the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the urban development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At present, it very much looks like I will be able to fulfill my educational dream of obtaining an advanced degree with a truly “global education”. I couldn’t have asked for more!

Update: Tania was accepted at UCLA

 

 

Brianne Holden

Holden
In 2010, I graduated with a degree in Global Cultures and a minor in History. My primary emphasis was Hispanic/Latino Cultures and my secondary emphasis was locating Europe. The Global Cultures major has helped me develop a profound cultural awareness and passion for travel. Courses in the program are very interdisciplinary, and as a result I was able to take classes from the School of Social Science as well as Humanities. The Global Cultures major has given me an in depth understanding of globalization and its impact on a variety of cultures worldwide.

In 2008 I was fortunate enough to study in Spain for a semester. It was one of the best decisions of my life. This study abroad experience dramatically improved my Spanish language skills, and taught me much about myself and how others in far-away places structure their lives. I highly recommend anyone interested in Global Cultures to also study abroad.

In February I plan to teach English in Chile. My Global Cultures major will help me cope in South America, and facilitate my understanding and appreciation of Chile’s cultural diversity. In Fall 2011, I plan to return to school to pursue a Ph.D. program in International Studies.

If you are interested in the Global Cultures major and have any questions, please feel free to contact me at BrianneLHolden@gmail.com. I will be happy to help you out!

 

 

Alex Hunt

Hunt
I am on my way to becoming an educator—someone who will be able to extend the benefits offered by a multicultural education to her future students. In graduate school, I will be most interested in researching structural racism in American public schools; in doing so, I will seek to understand how language identity and foreign language learning shapes the development of minority students compared to dominant-culture students.

More than any other generation before us, we think on a global scale; traditional disciplines can feel too limiting or too narrow. It was important for me to commit to an academic program that would prepare me to compete effectively in today’s dynamic and global society. Global Cultures at UCI exceeded all of my expectations.

My emphases in Atlantic Rim and Africa (Nation, Culture, and Diaspora) gave me a fresh perspective on the history and culture of regions that are underrepresented in high school and survey courses. By the time I graduated the Global Cultures major I had taken classes in African American Studies, Art History, Comparative Literature, History, International Studies, and Spanish.

I elected courses in a variety of fields but never lost my academic focus. The Core Courses (Global Cultures 103A, 103B) and Capstone Course (Global Cultures 191W) prepared me well to trace themes and concepts across disciplines; they also helped me refine ideas about my research and career path. With the help of my faculty advisor I tailored my coursework to enrich my understanding of race and language identity in Africa and the Americas. Part of that enrichment took place while I was studying abroad in Argentina, where my coursework counted fully for my majors (Global Cultures and Spanish).

I highly recommend Global Cultures to students seeking to narrow their research interests without compromising the interdisciplinary thinking that is necessary and relevant to daily life in the 21st century. Ultimately, Global Cultures is more than a major; it is a cause. When you become a part of Global Cultures, you contribute your own story and perspective to a community of students and professors seeking to understand complex social processes that shape the human experience.

Update: Alex was accepted into the following two graduate programs and is currently choosing between the two of them:  (1) M.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences at San Diego State University and (2) M.A. in American Studies at California State University Fullerton.

 

 

Adrienne Kibler

Kibler
Majoring in Global Cultures at UCI was the best choice I made in my undergraduate studies. The program’s interdisciplinary approach allowed me to tailor my degree to my interests as well as provide the flexibility I needed to participate in a year long immersion travel abroad program in Padua, Italy. This element of freedom helped me sort out my personal and academic aspirations, and gave me the ability to pursue a career and life that I absolutely love.

Aside from its usefulness, Global Cultures was a joy to major in. I was able to bond with many of the other students in the major, and benefit from small class sizes, typically around 20 students. I much appreciated the professors’ passion and personal attention in all my classes.

I am currently in Cambodia, serving in the United States Peace Corps as an English teacher, a position which my studies at UCI helped prepare me for. My Global Cultures courses helped me from a multifaceted perspective, which is of the utmost importance to anyone entering the global workplace.

I would highly recommend the Global Cultures program to any students who enjoy innovation, passion, and challenge in their studies and want to be well prepared for both graduate school and the global job market.

 

 

Sachiko Kido

Kido
I graduated from UCI with Global CuItures degree in June 2008. Since then, I have been working at American Honda Motor Inc. in Torrance (California) where I had already did an internship while I was completing my Global Cultures degree.

At my job I use communicative and presentational skills that I learned while in the Global Cultures program, and also draw on cultural knowledge I acquired while at UCI. At Honda, I perform translation services for the American and Japanese staff. Often I translate during phone and video conferences. These are very important meetings as the Japanese and the American divisions are working toward global solutions. Honda has 40 factories around the world and sells cars in 80 countries. So the Global Solution serves many customers.

I also work on other projects assigned to me by the manager. My manager has been at Honda for over 30 years. I have created templates for our 3-year business plan, been involved in technical translation for new car validations, helped create a cost reduction plan for the department spending, and attended managers meetings to assist managers.

I am fortunate to keep in touch with my friends and classmates from Global Cutures. I think students in Global Cultures have stronger bonds than other majors, thanks in no small measure to its director (Dr. A. Schwegler). We had quarterly luncheons and other events, which enabled me to meet and interact with students, professors, as well as staff. I appreciate everything that Global Cultures offered me, and I am glad that I chose this major, as it has prepared me well for the professional life I now so much enjoy.

Update: Sachiko is now working for American Honda Motor Inc. in Torrance

 

 

Dillon Kiel

Kiel
I could not be happier with my Global Cultures degree from UCI, and the knowledge that I have gained from my coursework. For anyone interested in studying global issues from a variety of viewpoints (cultural, political, linguistic, economic), this is the major for you. Not only are the faculty excellent, but they come from various backgrounds. The major is perfect for anyone who likes having flexibility in his or her coursework. Students can take classes ranging from medieval literature to the political implications of globalization. The major essentially allows for a tailor-made degree, as there are only a few, but wonderful, obligatory core courses.


The major is also great for anyone who has an interest in studying foreign languages. A good portion of coursework is dedicated to the cultural impact of language, and there is also ample opportunity to utilize this information. Studying abroad fits perfectly with the Global Cultures major, and helps put the information learned in the classroom to work as you live and study in a place that you have been discussing in class. In my mind, studying abroad is one of the most important and exciting experiences of education, and structurally it is easy to accomplish with the Global Cultures major. I studied in Paris for six months. Every single one of my courses counted toward my major requirements. I lost no time while studying abroad, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.


Since graduating from UCI, I have gone on to complete an MPP (Master’s of Public Policy) program at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Though I have chosen to pursue public policy, I could have gone in almost any direction. The Global Cultures major prepared me with such a wide variety of knowledge that I feel confident that I could have easily applied for programs in sociology, journalism, law, culture studies, business, international affairs, and possibly economics, to name a few. Climate change and energy policy are now what I hope to work on, and I am currently pursuing a career in public service. I urge everyone to consider Global Cultures as a major. It is well worth it!

Update: "Dillon has just completed a Master degree of Public Policy at The George Washington University, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Washington."

 

 

Claudia Mendoza

Mendoza
After completing my studies in Cognitive Psychology at the University of California, Irvine, I took strong interest in personality, psychopathology and social theories as well as experimental research.

Subsequently, I went on to complete a second B.A. degree in Global Cultures again at the University of California Irvine, emphasizing a more interdisciplinary approach through art and history. I grew further interested in examining and re-examining current scholarly constructions of "culture" as interpreted through globalization, capitalism, and indigenous societies made evident in cultural and artistic production. Although culture is considered a production of what is "local" and—more than often—appropriated in national rhetoric, mainstream media, and other vehicles shaping and reshaping modes of culture.

My desire to travel and explore the world has proved very relevant to my practice in cultural production and general ‘human’ type questions that can be applied to the field of art while seeking to extend the boundaries of curating. I am currently in Grenoble, France and participating in an international curatorial program. My current interests involve pooling ideas of knowledge from several fields of thought which seek to question, explain and explore the world around us while maintaining a conscious and open awareness to the world with the purpose of providing long term solutions in cultural conflict and societal tension.

Other related interests in experimental realities, the mind-body question and meta/quantum physics as a philosophical thought in examining cultures are juxtaposed with concepts such as reality, freedom, and possibly altered states of consciousness as represented through art, space and time. My goal is to explore different theorists and artists who confront similar questions, debates, and notions of the aforementioned. .Perhaps we seek to find, only to seek again.

Update: Claudia is currently working in Grenoble, France

 

 

Nancy Quintanilla

Quintanilla
I write this testimonial at a time when I am about to enter the Ph.D. program in English Language and Literature at Cornell University. I recently graduated from UC, Irvine with a double major in English Literature and Global Cultures.

Today, as I reflect on my challenging and gratifying undergraduate experience, I would like to take the time to thank Professor Schwegler (Director of Global Cultures) and everyone involved with the development and growth of Global Cultures as a major. Through this testimony, I hope to rightfully credit this interdisciplinary major and the crucial role it has played in my academic and personal achievements.

During my second year at Irvine, I held a small, yet quite significant conversation with Professor Schwegler. I told him that I was thinking about attending graduate school in order to pursue a PhD in English. At the time, my GPA was barely a 3.0 and he admonished me to keep myself well grounded and realistic in terms of what it would take to successfully apply to top graduate programs. Thanks to Professor Schwegler's pep talk, I took action, so much so that GPA during my last two years at UC Irvine I averaged close to a 3.9 GPA. My love for Global Cultures consequently grew, and the program's flexibility and interdisciplinary structure allowed me to pursue an ethnological study of African music. Meanwhile I was also able to obtain course credit for a class I took while I studied abroad.

Indeed, I cannot help but think about every moment and every form of advice I received while I was an undergraduate. They have all led me to this moment in which I prepare for Fall 2011 enrollment to the Ph.D. program in English Language and Literature at Cornell University. I truly believe that I received a first-class education at UCI and I'd like to thank everyone who worked with me through my Global Cultures major and Humanities Department. Now, I am on to bigger dreams—all with one foot on the ground, yet reaching towards the possibilities that have opened up for me!

Update: Nancy is pursuing a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature at Cornell University!

 

 

Sobia Saleem

Saleem
Deciding to double major in Global Cultures was by far the best decision of my undergraduate career. As a student coming from the English Department, Global Cultures allowed me the unusual opportunity to leave the typical cannon and explore cultures and novel critical thinking strands.

I have recently been accepted into both the Ethnic Studies Program at San Francisco State University and the Literature and Languages Program at UC Santa Cruz. I am convinced that the interdisciplinary nature of the Global Cultures major was a significant reason why these programs accepted me without reservation.

Global Cultures gave me the flexibility to apply to two different departments where I could pursue my interests and juxtapose minority culture, marginalized peoples, literature and cinemas from unique directions.

Global Cultures is a very intimate major with quarterly luncheons and core courses in which fellow major-members develop a relationship that lasts beyond UCI. The professors are very easy to approach despite their brilliance, and the material is nothing less than exhilarating in its depth and scope.

After graduation, I decided to take a year off to learn to speak French, cook, and catch up on my favorite books. I currently work for Kaplan (they offer on-line degree programs). The communication and presentation skills I learned in the Capstone Seminar with Professor Schwegler helped me distinguish myself from other job applicants. I will soon attend UC Santa Cruz’s Literature and Languages MA program with a proud emphasis in Globalization.

Update: Sobia has was accepted into UC Santa Cruz's Literature and Languages MA program with a proud emphasis in Globalization

 

 

Julie Schechter

Schechter
My experience with the Global Cultures program was a highlight of my academic career at UC Irvine. Originally a single major (Dance), I added Global Cultures because of its interdisciplinary nature.

The ability to take “Global Cultures” classes in Art History, English, Classics (the list goes on) was the kind of mind-broadening experience I had hoped college would provide. My emphasis in Locating Europes and European Cultures allowed me take courses in subjects from 18th-century British Literature to Roman city planning. The Senior Capstone course with Professor Schwegler was particularly empowering, providing an immersion in the kinds of worldwide economic / cultural / linguistic trends that will be key for future leaders and active citizens to understand.

In addition, the academic counselors and the Director of Global Cultures were very supportive of the challenges involved in being a double major. With their help, I was able to complete all the requirements and graduate on time in four years!

After graduation, I served a one-year term with the AmeriCorps*VISTA program, aiding disadvantaged preschoolers in San Juan Capistrano by creating nutrition and physical activity programs. I plan to attend law school in Fall ’09 and continue my career in the non-profit sector.

Regardless of the career you are contemplating, consider becoming a Global Cultures major. You will enjoy your time in the program, but more importantly, you will leave UCI with an enriched global awareness, and the conviction that  will be able to actively participate in today's globalized world.

Update:  Julie was accepted to Harvard Law School.

 

 

Kendy Taylor

Global Cultures is a major like no other. My main emphasis was Latin American Studies (at the time) and my sub-emphasis was African Studies. The Quarterly Approved Course List allowed me to take courses from the various schools on UCI’s campus, including upper division courses in Anthropology, Linguistics, History and Political Science, to name a few. Though relatively small, the Global Cultures community of students and faculty is growing and I believe it's in part because of the friendly and warm atmosphere that Dr. Schwegler promotes with his undeniable support that he offers his students by availing himself so readily.

I originally entered UCI as a Psychology major, but after taking a few Spanish courses just for fun, I was so inspired by my instructors that I changed my major to Spanish during my second year. Through the faculty in the Spanish Department, I was introduced to Dr. Armin Schwegler and instantly became attracted to the interdisciplinary approach offered by the Global Cultures major. I decided to double major in Spanish and Global Cultures. Every class that I took as a Global Cultures major has proved its relevance and made a lasting impact on my education, both formally within the institution and informally around the world, literally (I also studied abroad in Barcelona (Spain) and after my graduation lived in Kenya working as a Senior English Teacher for over one year).

Since graduation, I have had the privilege of traveling extensively and working and living in countries including Spain, Kenya and my current home, Istanbul, Turkey. Next year, I will pursue a Master's degree in Anthropology at the University of London. While I have always maintained an interest in multiculturalism, I do not know that my international career would be what it is today, or nearly as engaging, if I hadn't gone through the Global Cultures program. Needless to say, I highly recommend it! If you have any questions about the major or even about living in any of the aforementioned countries, please do not hesitate to email me: kendy.taylor@gmail.com

Update: Kendy will pursue a Master's degree in Anthropology at the University of London

 

 

Christine Thraser

Thraser
I had a fantastic experience in the Global Cultures major. It allowed me to take a variety of courses in different disciplines to broaden my understanding of world history, culture, and globalization. In addition to helping me develop useful critical thinking and communication skills, this major has also made me a more globally conscious and socially responsible person.

The faculty members in the major are some of the best that UCI has to offer. If you end up choosing Global Cultures, I would encourage you to get to know your professors well. The research opportunities, personal and academic support, and inspiration you will gain from these people will have an invaluable impact on your experience at UCI, as well as your future career and academic success.

Although it’s too early to report on my post-graduation experiences, I feel optimistic about the opportunities my education has given me. After I graduate, I will start an internship with PBS SoCal. I know that the skills and knowledge I gained from the Global Cultures major helped to secure this competitive internship. I am also currently applying to teach English abroad in Germany through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program. If I received the award, I will assist teaching English in a German high school from 2013-2014.

Ultimately, I hope to return to the United States to complete my PhD. My current research interests are German studies, bilingual/intercultural education, online learning, and conflict resolution.

If you are interested in hearing more about my experiences in the program, please feel free to contact me at cthrashe@uci.edu.

 

 

Sumaiya Zaman

Zaman
I recently graduated with a B.A. from UC Irvine in Global Cultures: emphases in Latin America/Africa/Caribbean.  In January 2010, I will begin my Masters of Liberal Studies at the University of Pennsylvania The University of Pennsylvania was my number one choice; I also was accepted to USC and Duke University.

I want to thank Professor Schwegler for his continued support through everything.  His classes at UCI were some of my favorite and I cannot express enough gratitude towards him and the rest of the Global Cultures faculty and staff.  It was an amazing interdisciplinary experience — and that is exactly why I applied to the Masters of Liberal Arts — so I can continue an interdisciplinary education through Graduate Studies.

UPDATE: Samaiya was recently accepted into the University of Pennsylvania!